School locked down after report of man with machete; hourslong barricade ensues
By Perry Smith & Tyler Wainfeld
Signal Staff Writers
Sheriff’s deputies with the department’s Special Enforcement Bureau arrested a “barricaded armed suspect” Thursday night after an hourslong standoff that followed reports of a man with a machete near a Canyon Country elementary school.
A Sheriff’s Information Bureau alert released shortly before 9 p.m. confirmed a man described earlier as a while male in his 60s was taken into custody. It did not contain any information regarding potential charges or the man’s identity.
Deputies established a containment area Thursday afternoon that carried into Thursday evening near Canyon Springs Elementary School, after a man was reported to be seen near the front of the campus holding a machete around 2:15 p.m., according to station officials.
When the suspect barricaded himself in a nearby home, an hourslong standoff ensued, according to sheriff’s officials.
Superintendent Catherine Kawaguchi confirmed the Canyon Springs campus was under a hard lockdown at the time but said all students were safe.
“The school is on hard lockdown, but all students are safe and there’s no threat to the campus,” she said in a brief phone interview around 2:30 p.m.
A Santa Clarita Valley Sheriff’s Station official confirmed deputies were in a standoff situation with a suspect who had barricaded himself in a home on Plumwood Avenue as of 3:23 p.m. The suspect was described as a white man in his 60s.
Oscar Ricalday lived down the street from where the standoff happened Thursday evening.
He said he initially heard about the incident through the news online and then realized it was his own neighborhood. He didn’t know the suspect, he added.
“I realized that it was in my neighborhood right down the street,” Ricalday said Thursday night near the standoff. “And I went to look more into it. It was, of course, one of my neighbors and the school went on lockdown, and so I just kept watching and keeping updated on the situation. … I mean I know I’m his neighbor, but I’ve honestly never seen him come in or come out of his property, so it’s a little surprising.”
Students were being released from campus with deputies’ assistance while the campus was still on lockdown, according to a station official.
The deputies’ response was initiated when a bystander called into the station and, while deputies were responding to the campus in the 19000 block of Vicci Street in Canyon Country, they received reports the suspect was spotted nearby in the 27400 block of Plumwood Street, which is just south of the school.
The Sheriff’s Department SWAT team, known as the Special Enforcement Bureau, assumed tactical command, and the department’s Crisis Negotiation Team was trying “to make contact with the suspect to bring this to a peaceful conclusion,” as of 5 p.m.
The surrounding homes were evacuated for the safety of the residents, according to a Nixle alert from the Sheriff’s Department.
Fire officials said there were no injuries reported.
Signal Staff Writer Habeba Mostafa contributed to this report.